Our Industry Visits Program (IVP)

What is the Industry Visits Program?

The Industry Visits Program (IVP) is a flexible health education program for workplaces that is specifically designed for women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. Education sessions are presented by qualified bilingual health educators who can speak in the preferred language of the group and who share an understanding of what it means to move to and settle in another country.

Read on for more information about why the IVPs are good for your business, or click here for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

How does the Industry Visits Program benefit me?

Everyone benefits from increasing the health and wellbeing in workplaces. Employees are more productive and engaged when they are healthy, which benefits business and the Australian economy. Increasing health knowledge is also good for individuals and for their families, and benefits the wider community.

The Industry Visits Program has been running since 1978. In that time, countless numbers of women have been given the confidence and knowledge to make informed choices about their health that have improved their working lives and their workplaces.

“I feel so much stronger now. I feel that I know what I am doing and understand so many concepts I didn’t have a clue about before. I want all women to feel this way and you will if you make commitment to talk to MCWH educators. I wish I knew all this a long time ago, but I am grateful to be given the opportunity to learn it now. Huge thanks to my employer and MCWH to make this happen!”
- IVP Participant, 2014

How does the Industry Visits Program benefit employers?

There is strong evidence to show that a healthy workforce contributes to a happier and more efficient workplace. Healthy workers are more productive, motivated and more able to perform their jobs. By contrast, the cost of workplace injuries and ill health can include medical and legal expenses, absenteeism and sick leave, as well as the costs of retraining, loss of productivity and decreased morale among co-workers.

Safe Work Australia estimated that the total economic cost of work-related injuries and illnesses for the 2008–09 financial year was $60.6 billion dollars, or 4.8 per cent of Australia's Gross Domestic Product. Supporting and promoting health in the workplace is not just common sense, it is also good business sense.

“If you think you know enough about your health and how to improve it, join this program to see how much there is that you didn’t know. Do it for your family.”
- IVP Participant, 2014

Some other key statistics about health and workplace productivity

  • It has been estimated that the healthiest Australian employees are three times more productive at work than their colleagues (Medicare Private, 2005)
  • The increase in preventable disease and workplace injury resulting from unhealthy living is a major cause of workplace absence or disruption (Medibank Private 2005)
  • Lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, inactivity and excess body weight can contribute to time away from work
  • Loss in productivity due to obesity through absenteeism, attending work when sick and premature death is estimated to cost $6.4 billion a year

See the Australian Government Department of Health "Healthy Workers initiative website" for more information.

Why is the Industry Visits Program only for immigrant and refugee women?

MCWH believes that everyone has the right to accurate health information and access to health services. There are many reasons why an individual might struggle to access health information and services in Australia. Some of these reasons may be personal and others may be structural or social. Social factors which can prevent people from accessing services include broader issues like income, gender, education, cultural background, ethnicity, disability and language.

Immigrant and refugee women are often structurally disadvantaged in multiple ways and do not receive the same level of support that many other groups enjoy. Immigrant and refugee women are also often primary carers in their families and may not prioritise their health.

By promoting the health and wellbeing of immigrant and refugee women in your workplace, you are contributing to the health of the whole community. Women often feel empowered by the Program and develop stronger bonds with their peers and colleagues. And most importantly, after the Program many women take steps to improve and maintain their health.

“I made bookings the day after the session, not only for a Pap test, but for all the other tests which I haven’t done for a while simply because I felt too busy. I remember you [the Bilingual Health Educator] said that we women have to put ourselves first.”
- IVP Participant, 2014

How does the Industry Visits Program work?

The Industry Visits Program is desigined to be flexible, in order to suit the different needs and schedules of various workplaces and industry settings. It is usually conducted once a week over a seven week period covering a different health topic each week. The eighth week is for program evaluation.

The IVP program follows a holistic, peer-education model that respects immigrant and refugee women’s experiences and knowledge. MCWH provides accurate and up-to-date health information and education to support immigrant and refugee women to make informed choices about their health.

Download our Health Education Programs Information document to read more about the program including a copy of our full list of health topics below.
Or click here for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Industries and workplaces that have used our Program

  • Aged Care settings: Southern Cross Care Victoria
  • Hotels and Hospitality settings: The Langham Hotel; Rendezvous Hotel
  • Factories and Food processing settings: Mushroom Exchange; Golden Farms